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BREAKING: Taliban Seeks Iran Connection

Sekulow Radio Show / Jay Sekulow & Jordan Sekulow
The Truth Network Radio
September 3, 2021 1:00 pm

BREAKING: Taliban Seeks Iran Connection

Sekulow Radio Show / Jay Sekulow & Jordan Sekulow

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Breaking news today on Sekulow as the Taliban begins to seek a working relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Welcome to Sekulow PAC Show. Today, Rick Grenell and Mike Pompeo will be joining us on the broadcast to discuss Afghanistan, to discuss the refugee process in Afghanistan. Also to discuss holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable for COVID. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has got a new piece in the Wall Street Journal on that and a way to utilize U.S. laws and an update to U.S. laws to hold those actors and the country responsible for its actions or cover up. After this intel report came out saying basically we can't come to any conclusions because we can't get any information. So we'll be talking about that with him. In the second half hour, we've got an ACLJ victory in support of a pro-Israel organization in the U.S. that was being targeted by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement in court. We won initially back in March and now again.

So we will talk to Mark Goldfeder from the ACLJ about that. What we are seeing now, which is an interesting move by the Taliban, in July they were accused, it was reported, they were massacring the Shiite minority and a group of men from that Shiite minority. Now they've added to their ranks and leadership a Shiite from Afghanistan. We saw the images yesterday of Humvees heading to Iran, where Afghanistan and Iran border, and so we're starting to see that dangerous relationship develop between, in the past, enemies that would not work together.

I'll tell you this. No, you're exactly right and let's not forget, as you just said Jordan, that in fact Afghanistan borders on Iran and Iran could become a natural and dangerous ally for Afghanistan. I think we just have to be cognizant of that's the way this is going to play out. Look, they're trying to solidify their Islamic base.

It is an Islamic republic. That's what Joe Biden's allowed to be established there. I think we have to also look at the situation. I am increasingly concerned, and we've been on a lot of texts and calls for the Christian community in Afghanistan. This is going to be devastating. It could have consequences that result in loss, a lot of loss of life. We're already seeing it. So I think we have to be cognizant of what we're dealing with now, and the aftermath of this is just horrific.

But I'll tell you something. We are going to prepare to go to the UN and bring international pressure to bear. They need money, the Taliban. They have to have money, and we're going to use our international capabilities fully. And that means going to the Human Rights Council, wherever else we have to go, to try to protect and get as much leverage as we can get.

It's not going to be easy. I'm not saying it's going to be very difficult, but we cannot give up for the Americans that are there, also the Afghans that worked with us there, and then the Afghans that are staying, especially the religious minorities, which include Christians, that are going to be subject to really intense persecution. That's right, and unfortunately, it's unlikely that any Christian leaders are going to be able to make these kind of deals. But the way the Taliban has now added to their ranks of leadership, I just want to explain this to people. A Shiite leader, just a month and a half after being accused of committing a massacre of those individuals, that just in six weeks, they've changed their tune to continue and open a relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran, taking a much more, instead of the approach for history. So when you hear these leaders from the United States say they're mortal enemies, this group's immortal, I mean, you know, how long is it till we get a deal like this with ISIS and the Taliban? They had a deal similar with the Al Qaeda, and the people who started ISIS in Afghanistan came from the Taliban.

They're not that far off. So when we hear our administration say, well, these are mortal enemies, they're going to fight each other, we're already starting to see that move to go where the resources are to conduct the acts of terror, conduct the violence, and that, of course, being the Islamic Republic of Iran. We come back, former Secretary of State and Senior Counsel for Global Affairs Mike Pompeo joining us on Secular. The challenges facing Americans are substantial. At a time when our values, our freedoms, our constitutional rights are under attack, it's more important than ever to stand with the American Center for Law and Justice. For decades now, the ACLJ has been on the front lines protecting your freedoms, defending your rights, in courts, in Congress, and in the public arena.

And we have an exceptional track record of success. But here's the bottom line, we could not do our work without your support. We remain committed to protecting your religious and constitutional freedoms. That remains our top priority, especially now during these challenging times. The American Center for Law and Justice is on your side.

If you're already a member, thank you. And if you're not, well, this is the perfect time to stand with us at ACLJ.org, where you can learn more about our life-changing work. Become a member today, ACLJ.org.

Only when a society can agree that the most vulnerable and voiceless deserve to be protected is there any hope for that culture to survive. And that's exactly what you are saying when you stand with the American Center for Law and Justice to defend the right to life. We've created a free, powerful publication offering a panoramic view of the ACLJ's battle for the unborn.

It's called Mission Life. It will show you how you are personally impacting the pro-life battle through your support. And the publication includes a look at all major ACLJ pro-life cases, how we're fighting for the rights of pro-life activists, ramifications of Roe v. Wade 40 years later, play on parenthood's role in the abortion industry, and what Obamacare means to the pro-life movement. Discover the many ways your membership with the ACLJ is empowering the right to life.

Request your free copy of Mission Life today online at ACLJ.org slash gift. Welcome back to Secula. We are joined now by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Senior Counsel for Global Affairs at the American Center for Law and Justice. Secretary Pompeo, I want to get right back into it. We see the Taliban begin to establish a government announcing different members of their cabinet. They are demanding that U.S. diplomats return to Kabul.

Our current Secretary of State, Secretary Blinken, has announced that a new diplomatic chapter has begun. We know that there are still Americans and Afghans stranded in Afghanistan. What is the right path forward here for the United States when it comes to the Taliban seeking the recognition and the resources and the money that comes with that? Jordan, I've listened to the administration over the past days, and they continue to say that we have enormous leverage over the Taliban. It signals to me that when they talk about leverage, they're talking about your money, taxpayer money, Americans' money. They're going to essentially pay the Taliban to provide the services that we want provided.

That's a terrible idea. Just like paying for hostages, it only breeds more contempt, more misery, more terror. Your point about diplomacy, look, our leverage for diplomacy occurred when we had Bagram, when we had our soldiers on the ground. Our capacity to negotiate with the Taliban for anything now is intensely limited because we don't have the tools, the American power present, to be able to inflict real costs on the Taliban, and they know that. So when I hear this administration talk about reengaging with the Taliban, this is dangerous. It's the same kind of thing they're doing with the theocrats, the kleptocrats that run the Islamic Republic of Iran today. They truly believe that you can negotiate with these jihadists, with these radical Islamic terrorists, take their word for it, and they will give you something without you having to give them a whole bunch of American money. We shouldn't send pallets of cash to the Taliban in the same way we should never send pallets of cash to the Iranians. Mike, I wanted to ask you this question because you've got General Milley and others saying that he thinks we can work with the Taliban as it relates specifically to fighting ISIS. I mean, the naivete, and I know he's not naive, but this is just... I mean, I wrote the very first book about ISIS that was published when ISIS was barely a thought.

I did it while I was at the University of Oxford for a summer research program and ended up writing a book about it because we saw where it was going. My concern here is this idea that we're going to be able to work with the Taliban to defeat ISIS. Why are they even saying things like this? Does this just justify what they just did?

It's very hard to explain. Look, there's a negative truth, there's a kernel of truth underneath it, right, which is that the Taliban and ISIS have different objectives, different timelines. But make no mistake about it, that little kernel of truth is obfuscated, blown away by their central hatred of the West, of Christians, of believers. These are Islamic terrorists.

They share that common theme. And so make no mistake about it, while they may fight for a particular set of resources or some power, some real estate, in the end, their joint fight is against the idea of modernity. Their joint fight is against the idea of the rule of law and the things that we hold dear. Christians will suffer under both the ISIS-K guys and the Taliban. Jews will suffer under both the ISIS-K and the Taliban.

They are fundamentally against the things that we all believe in. The fact that one of them is going to be a tool of American power to defeat the other makes no sense at all. We talked about these minority groups within Afghanistan, Christians, other religious minorities. But we are seeing a report, Secretary Pompeo, about the Shia group inside Afghanistan for the first time. And this is after six weeks ago there was a report that the Taliban was responsible for a massacre of a group of men from this ethnic and religious group. But they now have added someone from the Shia community into their leadership to increase and better their relationship with Iran. So adding another angle to this is that now we saw the images yesterday of the Humvees going into Iran, and now even the Taliban making this kind of decision to try and bring in their Shia minority into the fold to increase that relationship, which we all know how dangerous that could be if they are looking towards Iran as a partner.

Jordan, that's a really good point. We talked about the divide between the Taliban and ISIS before being a bit of a charade. In the sense of mortal combat against the West, the distinction between the Shias and the Sunnis is obliterated as well.

I've been talking about this for years. Al Qaeda is headquartered in the Shia headquarters. The Al Qaeda senior leaders are in Tehran. They're inside of Iran. While they will often nudge each other and push each other, they were happy, the Shia Iranians were happy to host the Sunni Al Qaeda in Tehran to run operations inside the United States and all across Europe.

Your point is so well taken. These two will find a detente. They will find a way to work together because their common enemy is the big Satan, the United States of America and the little Satan, the state of Israel. Let me ask you this, Mike, and that is I've got a concern just because of our work on religious liberty has been so significant over 40 years that I am very concerned about the religious minorities in Afghanistan, including, of course, the Christian community, which has been a growing faith in Afghanistan. The plight on them and the pressure on them and the persecution on them that's going to come here is going to be incredible.

I've already instructed our offices to utilize every avenue we have. We have an office in Pakistan that deals with religious freedom. I don't know how that can impact Afghanistan, but even the UN, as much as I don't like what they do, we are very active there because you've got to go to places where sometimes you're not comfortable just because you've got the Ministry of Presence. But what kind of danger are these religious minorities in with the Taliban?

Is there enough world eyes on it to make a difference? Jay, my sense is they're in real trouble, that the persecution is going to expand and be absolutely vicious. I suspect today that there's a little bit of good behavior where the cameras are in and around Kabul, but my guess is it's already taking place in the areas that are away from the stair. Your point about them wanting to be kind because the world is watching. I think away from the stair, which is the vast majority of the population inside of Afghanistan, away from that stair, Christians are already beginning to suffer.

I've heard a couple of stories. I can't validate them, but make no mistake about the Taliban are not going to permit religious freedom in any sense of the world. They believe in the most extreme form of Sharia law. They will impose that on every Afghani, and that does not bode well.

We should pray for the religious minorities in Afghanistan, and we should pray that organizations like the ACLJ are able to use their power and their tools, and their ability to shout to the world about this persecution can reduce the risk to these people. A little bit of a shift here because you've got a new piece up in the Wall Street Journal on holding the Chinese accountable through the courts. You talk about that let the lawyers hunt for COVID's origin. The report from the intelligence community is equivocal, but spies don't have subpoena power. You worked through this in the Wall Street Journal piece, but the courts in the US could be used to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for their, again, the complete cover-up of what happened with COVID. The intelligence investigators could not get the info, but you believe the courts could be utilized. So it begins with a proposition that the Chinese Communist Party has imposed enormous costs, not only property costs, but massive loss of life in the United States.

As a result of that, there should be a remedy for that. Today under US law, it's very difficult to sue the nation. We have something called the FSIA, which precludes that in most cases, but Congress could easily pass an amendment to that that would permit suits to go challenge the Chinese Communist Party and sue them for what they did to their business and to the community and to their life.

We think that this would provide an avenue to get at these answers. The Chinese Communist Party would find it very difficult to ignore those lawsuits, to find it to just walk away and allow those judgments to be filed, because if that were the case, there are Chinese Communist Party assets all throughout the world that could easily be seized. I think the Chinese Communist Party in China would have to show up, and when they show up, the capacity of US courts to sift through the data to demand through use of subpoenas, the capacity to get the information we want is another avenue that can begin to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable. Billions of dollars in lost wealth in the United States, our court systems ought to be available for individuals and for businesses to recover those resources that were lost, because the Chinese Communist Party foisted this virus upon the world.

Do you believe that that's something, I mean, because it seems totally rational, it seems like, you know, we've got to get at this, you've talked about it before, the way to get at them, accountability is through the pocketbook, through the checkbook. This should, something like this you would imagine, Secretary Pompeo would have bipartisan support, but then I get worried about so many of the actors inside of our government who benefit from the Chinese. I do think it will have bipartisan support. I'm counting on it. I hope that the legislation will be introduced soon. I'm counting on bipartisan support. The actual split is likely to be between those businesses that are making money inside of China today who won't like this and will push back against it, and those who believe that we've got to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable. I think that most Americans will understand the need to do this, that it's the right thing to do, that our court system is a venue in which this is a good place to litigate these issues, and when we do, we can finally recover some of the costs that the Chinese Communist Party has imposed on our country.

Absolutely. Secretary Pompeo, it's always great to have you on the broadcast, a member of the ACLJ team, the Senior Counsel for Global Affairs, and discussing a lot of foreign policy today, and we will get into some domestic work at the American Civil Law Justice. In just the second half hour, but coming up next, Rick Rinnell, our Senior Advisor for Foreign Policy and National Security, on what is going on with the vetting of the refugees from Afghanistan, and what the Biden administration has done.

He has some brand new information to share that you won't hear anywhere else. We come back on Secular. I'm offering a panoramic view of the ACLJ's battle for the unborn. It's called Mission Life. It will show you how you are personally impacting the pro-life battle through your support. And the publication includes a look at all major ACLJ pro-life cases, how we're fighting for the rights of pro-life activists, the ramifications of Roe v. Wade 40 years later, the play on parenthood's role in the abortion industry, and what Obamacare means to the pro-life movement. Discover the many ways your membership with the ACLJ is empowering the right to life.

Request your free copy of Mission Life today online at ACLJ.org slash gift. The challenges facing Americans are substantial at a time when our values, our freedoms, our constitutional rights are under attack. It's more important than ever to stand with the American Center for Law and Justice. For decades now, the ACLJ has been on the front lines protecting your freedoms, defending your rights in courts, in Congress, and in the public arena. And we have an exceptional track record of success.

But here's the bottom line. We could not do our work without your support. We remain committed to protecting your religious and constitutional freedoms.

That remains our top priority, especially now during these challenging times. The American Center for Law and Justice is on your side. If you're already a member, thank you. And if you're not, well, this is the perfect time to stand with us at ACLJ.org, where you can learn more about our life-changing work. Become a member today.

ACLJ.org. Welcome back to Secular. We're joined now by Rick Rinnell, our senior advisor for foreign policy, national security. And we are watching as the world watches what is occurring in Afghanistan.

It's already – there's a media shift trying to happen and also, of course, narrative shift by the current administration in the United States. But this is still an issue which is resonating. I know it's resonating with our listeners, our viewers of this broadcast, because of your response. Any time we're talking about these issues, engaging them directly. And Rick, you got a new report for everybody because of your on-the-ground contacts in Germany on the refugee situation and the processing of these refugees before they come to the United States.

So I want to let you tell people about that. Well, look, people who used to work for me, career foreign service officers and career members of DHS, Department of Homeland Security, based in Germany, are calling me and are very concerned about what they're seeing. There is a Biden administration directive to cut corners and to process refugees into the United States as quickly as possible, even without full information, partial information. Many of the refugees don't have proof of what they're claiming.

Many of them are unable to provide the normal materials that we require for vetting. And what the Biden team is telling career people in Germany at Ramstein Air Base is that they should process these individuals as quickly as possible with whatever information they have. One individual told me we're being pressured to use our own punches in order to provide access for people to get to the United States. Now, look, we have tens of thousands that are arriving in Philadelphia and in Dallas right now from Germany. Some of the flights from Kuwait are just refueling in Germany. DHS is putting air marshals on that plane in Germany as it goes then into the United States, which is just another sign that not everyone has been vetted.

If you're putting air marshals on a plane in Germany headed for the United States, that means that your vetting process in Kuwait was rushed and not complete. You don't trust that everybody on that plane is able to safely come to the United States. I want to make sure that people understand that we are the most generous nation in the world when it comes to giving people U.S. citizenship. A million people a year become brand new American citizens, and we're very proud of that. But unfortunately, Jordan, there's a hundred million people who want to come in, and we have to have strict vetting. There has to be rules in place, and we should not cut corners.

I want to ask you this, Rick, because I'm with you. Listen, we're a nation of refugees. We're a nation of immigrants. My grandparents came to this country through Russia in 1917. I'm only the second generation of my family born in the United States, but they had to go through a process.

It took my grandfather 14 years to obtain his citizenship. Here's the concern I have. First, we leave Americans behind. Secondly, we're now rushing, according to your sources, through this vetting process, which is dangerous for our country. Again, if people pass the vetting process, welcome them to America with open arms is my view. My concern here, of course, is that a rush process becomes a dangerous process, and we create our own problems domestically with terrorism if we're not very careful. And we've seen that happen before. The Sarnoff brothers, I can go through the list where this has happened. Hopefully, that will never be the case again.

We never experienced that in the United States. But we can't be naïve here, and I guess that's what your colleagues in your former position are saying, that they're concerned, the folks that have to actually do the vetting. Rick, go with your gut. What does that even mean? I think they're okay?

That's pretty dangerous. It's the pressure when you don't have proper identification, you don't have proper paperwork, to rush these people through. Now, look, it's not fair to career United States officials, people who work for the Department of Homeland Security, people who work for the State Department Consular Affairs Bureau. It's not fair to them to ask them to rush through a process.

We have established guidelines and criteria that many times are congressionally mandated criteria. And we have experts at the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security who know these regulations and qualifications intimately. They should not be asked to rush through and break the law in order to meet some political goal. We already know that the Biden administration has rushed through their politics by closing Bagram, by saying that the Pentagon officials are the ones who recommended that.

We've already seen the politicians mess this up. Now what they're doing is they're attacking the established process to vet properly individuals coming to the United States. And shame on anyone who tries to pretend like we're anti-refugee or anti-immigrant.

I spent eight years at the UN. I care very deeply about human rights. And the processes that we've put in place are there to protect Americans. And we shouldn't cut a corner. Congress needs to immediately call Anthony Blinken in, ask him what is going on, why Department of Homeland Security officials overseas working in our embassies are being asked to rush through refugees without proper paperwork and vetting.

I will tell you, I have individuals who have told me that it's such a chaotic mess at Ramstein, that they've been asking people to volunteer to come. And many people are saying, I don't want to be a part of this process because we are going to get the blame if anything happens because they're not letting us comply with all of the rules that Congress has mandated. Rick, there are countries in Europe, the UK specifically, that dealt with this during the conflicts in Syria, allowing mass immigration, mass refugees, without doing the proper vetting. And it led to leaving the EU, this movement like Brexit.

Is that the kind of consequences you think here? I think that people here, they are not going to be inclined to tolerate acts of terrorism in the United States again by Islamic radicals. Look, I've been very clear with Chancellor Merkel, telling her that the rushed vetting process that Germany instituted was the direct reason for Brexit. Now, people don't like to hear that, but it is the facts.

If people in Great Britain would have seen the EU and its leaders, and Germany certainly as the largest economy in Europe is one of the EU leaders, if the Brits had seen proper vetting from the Germans, they wouldn't have moved to have Brexit. Just understand, folks, the serious consequences of this. You're not going to get this reporting anywhere else.

Rick's sharing this with us today, and Rick, appreciate you coming on to do that. The idea, folks, that we knew how chaotic it was at the airport, but that even once everything is removed and we're at a place where things can calm down, you can work through these individuals and do the right research and get the right information, that they're just being given a pass. And that is a direct threat to the United States. And it's not helping those individuals either, because then there's going to be that question that hangs over everyone who's gone through that process and whether or not they really should be here or not. And it is, which is bad for them as well, and puts our country at risk. We'll be right back.

Second half hour coming up of Sekulow. For decades now, the ACLJ has been on the front lines, protecting your freedoms, defending your rights in courts, in Congress, and in the public arena. The American Center for Law and Justice is on your side. If you're already a member, thank you. And if you're not, well, this is the perfect time to stand with us at ACLJ.org, where you can learn more about our life changing work. Become a member today.

ACLJ.org. Keeping you informed and engaged. Now more than ever, this is Sekulow. And now your host, Jordan Sekulow. Recap, that was a packed first half hour of Sekulow to have a former Secretary of State, the former Acting Director of National Intelligence, both members of the ACLJ team back to back, just another reason to support the work of the ACLJ and the information Rick shared.

No one else has those contacts like Rick does. He was the ambassador to Germany, which is uniquely positioned in this because of our base, military base in Germany, and the amount of Americans there, and of course the role Germany plays in Europe. So you've got this refugee process, which again, no Americans would be opposed to the idea of making sure the resources are there for the people working this process to make sure before someone gets on a flight to the United States that they're not a threat. That they aren't potentially part of ISIS-K or Al Qaeda, or that they have been a Taliban militant that would be in the United States already radicalized. So there's the security threat that poses. But Dad, I also think that humanitarian issue, we talked about it from a human rights perspective, the individuals coming in from Afghanistan, if this vetting isn't done properly, then they are looked at with a question mark. They aren't welcomed in as refugees, that people are worried. They get nervous.

And that's when also problems can, you can cause problems. So it would benefit the refugees to know, so that Americans know the people coming here have been checked out. It only makes perfect sense. I mean, we want to welcome refugees. I mean, that's the whole idea. That's what we do as Americans. But we just want to make sure that we're not welcoming terrorists.

I mean, I hate to be that blunt, but I think you have to be that blunt. We don't want to welcome in people that would do the country harm. I think it would be naive to think that the Taliban and ISIS would not try to do that. And that's why what Rick said is so alarming, because if in fact the vetting process is not appropriate, well, then you're setting yourself up for a situation where you're opening the door to terrorism. And we just, we've seen it happen here.

Look, we know it can happen. So I think we should be cautious. We should do all the vetting. And then once they're vetted, we should welcome them in, especially the ones that work with us.

Yeah, I mean, I think this is, it's just that situation and for Rick to share that with everybody. And also the ramifications, what it caused in Europe just recently when a similar lax vetting was put in place with the refugees from Syria. It wasn't that the Europeans didn't want to help. I was in Turkey when a lot of those refugees were coming across the border. They had no idea. They were also very concerned. And I will tell you that then they're not treated equally because people are looking at them as potential threats. And Turkey was experiencing bombing attacks.

There were people who had gotten through. But this is not a situation like Turkey where we're on the border with Syria or we're on the border with Afghanistan. We have the time. We have relocated these individuals.

There's no reason to rush through. And again, I think just to recap as well, what Secretary Pompeo was talking about is ways to get at the Chinese Communist Party that should be bipartisan. And we can update our foreign sovereign immunity laws so that they can be held accountable. And everyone that we've talked to, every expert in the world stage has said the only way to really hold the Chinese actors accountable is through money. Look, as you know, Jordan, I was a big advocate during the Trump administration that action be taken against the Chinese for what they did here. This is damage inflicted on this country is in numbers that are unprecedented.

The economic impact, let alone the loss of life. And by the way, I've got a friend of mine that you all may know. Of course, John LaFontaine is one of the lead singers in our band.

His brother Skip is in the hospital battling COVID in a very severe case. So please pray for John and John's family. But yeah, I mean, look, I mean, the fact is the Chinese government, somebody allowed this in China. And it was the government obviously controls everything. So I agree.

Legal action is probably the next best move here. We're going to talk about one of the legal action at ACLJ major victory as a federal court has once again thrown out a lawsuit brought by individuals with terrorist sympathies linked to terror organizations against pro Israel groups in the United States part of the boycott divestment sanctions movement. Mark Goldfeder attorney with the ACLJ is going to be joining us the next segment to talk about this specific ACLJ victory where we represent a former Democrat assemblyman in New York, because his organization was named. And again, we talked about lawfare, we're going to talk about all that we come back on secular. The challenges facing Americans are substantial at a time when our values, our freedoms, our constitutional rights are under attack. It's more important than ever to stand with the American Center for Law and Justice. For decades now, the ACLJ has been on the front lines protecting your freedoms defending your rights in courts in Congress and in the public arena.

And we have an exceptional track record of success. But here's the bottom line, we could not do our work without your support. We remain committed to protecting your religious and constitutional freedoms.

That remains our top priority, especially now during these challenging times. The American Center for Law and Justice is on your side. If you're already a member, thank you. And if you're not, well, this is the perfect time to stand with us at ACLJ.org, where you can learn more about our life changing work.

Become a member today. ACLJ.org Only when a society can agree that the most vulnerable and voiceless deserve to be protected, is there any hope for that culture to survive. And that's exactly what you are saying when you stand with the American Center for Law and Justice to defend the right to life. We've created a free powerful publication, offering a panoramic view of the ACLJ's battle for the unborn.

It's called Mission Life. It will show you how you are personally impacting the pro-life battle through your support. And the publication includes a look at all major ACLJ pro-life cases, how we're fighting for the rights of pro-life activists, the ramifications of Roe v. Wade 40 years later, playing parenthood's role in the abortion industry, and what Obamacare means to the pro-life movement. Discover the many ways your membership with the ACLJ is empowering the right to life. Request your free copy of Mission Life today online at ACLJ.org slash gift.

Welcome back to Secular. We're joined now by Mark Goldfeder. He is an attorney with the American Center for Law and Justice and our international affairs. And Mark, we have talked extensively on our broadcast about the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. Recently we saw Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib supporting the idea to take away the tax-exempt status of pro-Israel organizations instead of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions groups which are in violation of US law and could have their tax-exempt status revoked. But this idea of utilizing the law, utilizing courts or legislation, we call it lawfare, and we have been representing inside the United States.

I think that's just important to continue to reiterate to people. It's not like at the UN or some other international organization. But Mark, right here in our own US courts, there are actors that are bringing these lawsuits against pro-Israel organizations. We represent one of those organizations in a case that we recently just had another victory in the case.

Tell people about it. Sure. Thanks, Jordan.

Good to be here. And in fact, until yesterday, we represent clients in three different cases in federal court in D.C. on the same issue, Altamimi v. Adelson, Pellet v. Netanyahu, and until yesterday, the DeWabasha family v. Netanyahu. Yesterday, we had another big win in that lawsuit. Just to give you a little bit of background, back in February of 2020, this group of activists in D.C. filed a massive lawsuit against then-Prime Minister Netanyahu, former President Donald Trump, and several other prominent pro-Israel politicians and public figures, including our client, who was the former Democratic New York State Assemblyman, Dov Heikin. It was an absolutely bizarre complaint and alleged a massive conspiracy between the Israeli government and all the defendants to commit war crimes.

No evidence whatsoever. But interestingly enough, they actually made one of the same claims that you were just discussing that Rashida Tlaib made. They claimed that giving to Israeli charities violated the financing terrorism statutes. They threw in some anti-Semitic blood libels for good measure about Palestinian kids being used for target practice.

Really bizarre, far-out stuff. Nary a footnote or reference of any kind, just absolutely baseless drivel. Now, the case was slowed for a bit because their lawyer, you can't make this stuff up, was actually suspended from the practice of law for unethical behavior. It was the same lawyer in all three cases. But basically, the court eventually, we filed a motion to dismiss back in August of 2020, and on March 3, 2021, the court granted our motion. But the plaintiffs were allowed the chance to refile an amended complaint, and they tried again, and yesterday the court finally dismissed the entire case. Mark, I think for a lot of people listening right now...

In fact, actually, just interestingly enough, we also... Go ahead, Mark. No, we also had another hearing yesterday. Myself and Ben Sisney, senior counsel at ACLJ, were on this one yesterday. We had a hearing in court for Pellet v. Netanyahu, another one of our cases, where the new lawyer was begging to please be let out of the case because he was... I mean, he didn't say this, but potentially just embarrassed to be on it because of how bizarre the claims were. He said he hadn't actually even read it. His name was just on the lawsuit, but the judge said, well, you filed it.

You gotta stay in here until the end. So it's just a bizarre set of cases trying to further the false BDS claims. Yeah, I mean, there were claims in here against the person we represented that somehow by being a supporter of Israel and having a group, you know, Americans against anti-Semitism, he was an Israeli agent, so he's some kind of foreign agent. But, Mark, while we win these cases, and they can sound absurd, like you go through the allegations that are made without any kind of reference, no footnoting, no documentation to prove any of these allegations, we have to fight these out in court. And we're able to do that at no cost to these clients, but that's the idea is that they can, even if these go nowhere, they can drain people of resources, thus making them afraid to step out and take the pro-Israel position.

Exactly. The complaint that they filed, Jordan, was 175 pages long. I mean, I shudder to think of what the hourly rates would be for a regular law firm being asked to defend a client and that thing, but, you know, we were able to do that thanks to the generosity of our base, and we were able to help this nonprofit that was being sued for free. Yeah, I wanted to say something here. You know, this BDS fight, so people understand, has been going on for years. I mean, we've been involved in this for over 10 years now. Of course, we did that, participated, I spoke at the UN General Assembly Hall, Mark participated in that, so did you, Jordan. I mean, this has been an ongoing effort for us, and these cases, I mean, what Mark just said, by the way, in the case he's referring to with these, you know, 100-plus page complaints that are filed, I mean, Mark, I can't remember if it was the Altamimi or the other one, where basically they were relitigating the entire Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mark? Yeah.

Yeah, that was Altamimi. They went through the entire history all the way back to 47. Let me go to Thanh, because Thanh, in Washington, we talked about Congresswoman Talib, but she's put forward to the Treasury Secretary to actually go after and revoke the tax-exempt status. So we responded very clearly to that about why not only she was wrong and whoever put that together for her and her staff was wrong, but that, again, the opposite is actually true. These groups that support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, which has, there's wide bipartisan support against those organizations, that they're in violation of U.S. law, and thus they could be subject to having their tax-exempt status revoked if they have that. And these issues are connected, Jordan.

I mean, this is one of the points that we make frequently on this broadcast. One of the reasons that these outlandish lawsuits are brought, I mean, you heard Mark go through it and you might think, why would someone bring a lawsuit like this? Jordan, one of the biggest reasons that these lawsuits are brought is to give support to both the domestic in the United States and the international efforts to pressure Israel. I mean, domestically, you're right. Congressman Tlaib is now pressuring the IRS, the Department of Treasury, to use support of Israel as a basis by which to either deny or remove tax-exempt status.

Of course, there's no rooting in law, but you can point to a lawsuit like this as growing momentum that maybe something like this is legitimate. And then internationally, Jordan, we talk about this a lot, but when you go up to the United Nations and when we go up as an accredited NGO to the United Nations, you see more censures against the nation of Israel than all the other nations of the world. So I think if you ask the typical person, you know, what kind of countries are the Human Rights Council or the General Assembly targeting, you would think of countries like North Korea or China or Iran or Venezuela or China.

But no, Jordan, you can add all of those up and all of the other countries of the world, and they still don't come close to representing or equaling the number of censures brought against the nation of Israel. So it's a comprehensive effort, and these lawsuits that we litigate, one of the reasons we engage them is to support those efforts, both domestically and internationally, to make sure that the momentum doesn't get carried away. You know, one of the things on that front, of course, just to jump in here for a second, Jordan, is that, look, what Sam mentioned about the Talib going after the IRS or having the IRS go after pro-Israel organizations, we responded. We took action.

We responded to the chief counsel of the IRS and the secretary of the Treasury. So we're not letting these things go. We are responding aggressively. And that's important, Dan, because right now, while it might be a movement that doesn't have a ton of support in the United States, it is popular on college campuses. It's even been popular in evangelical churches, some evangelical churches that are not connected to denominations that have started to take in a lot of this ideology. And then in Europe, this is a very mainstream political position to have.

So it's not – that's why it's so important that we always stand up. Not that ultimately we know right now it's a victory in court, but it was – again, this case was not won and done in a month, and they kept coming back, coming back again, and ultimately, yes, one of the attorneys being sanctioned for the other side being sanctioned by the court. But we have to take them seriously because it's a growing movement worldwide. It is a growing movement worldwide. I mean, this is – this situation, all of these situations, you have to understand, and they're using – Jordan, as you just said, they're using all these multi avenues. You've got litigation, then you get – they get congressional involvement. And it's all done for the same purpose, and it's a delegitimizing of the state of Israel. We've been probably, as a legal group, one of the most active, if not the most active, in Israel's defense.

My goodness, we've appeared – you have done it too. We've appeared before the International Criminal Court in The Hague multiple times on these issues, including full proceedings. And so – and of course, you've done a lot of work at the UN, as has Thanh, so we are front and center in this. And I need to say a thank you again to our ACLJ members. Last month, we had a record month in our Matching Challenge campaign, and that allows us to do all of this. You just heard from Mike Pompeo and Rick Grenell, the former Director of National Intelligence and the former Secretary of State, who are on the team at the American Center for Law and Justice because of your support.

So all I want to do about that is say thank you. Yeah, I mean, this is – it was an incredible month, and we've – I just want to be clear to everybody out there who's participated in that July and August. It's why we can continue to expand, and during the entire pandemic and everything that's come with it, the ACLJ has continued to be able to expand our work, make additions to the team, and continue on into broader access to the issues that you care about, that we work on at the ACLJ.

A lot of information up at ACLJ.org. When we come back, we're going to get into what's going on in Washington, D.C., now that we've kind of gone around the globe on all these issues and talked to Than about this infrastructure. It was an interesting move by Senator Manchin out of West Virginia and how that ties to Afghanistan, so how this push on that $3.5 trillion may be derailed because of the lack of planning by the Biden administration and the mess that has been caused in Afghanistan. We'll be right back on Secular. This is called Mission Life. It will show you how you are personally impacting the pro-life battle through your support. And the publication includes a look at all major ACLJ pro-life cases, how we're fighting for the rights of pro-life activists, the ramifications of Roe v. Wade 40 years later, the play on parenthood's role in the abortion industry, and what Obamacare means to the pro-life movement. Discover the many ways your membership with the ACLJ is empowering the right to life.

Request your free copy of Mission Life today online at ACLJ.org slash gift. The challenges facing Americans are substantial at a time when our values, our freedoms, our constitutional rights are under attack. It's more important than ever to stand with the American Center for Law and Justice. For decades now, the ACLJ has been on the front lines protecting your freedoms, defending your rights in courts, in Congress, and in the public arena. And we have an exceptional track record of success.

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ACLJ.org. Welcome back to this final segment of Secular. I'm going to go right to Washington, D.C., and Thanh, our Director of Government Affairs. Thanh, there's been a lot of focus, obviously, in Washington on Afghanistan. We saw a lot of members of Congress, both sides of the aisle, speaking out about that. We are waiting to see what action they actually take on a Capitol Hill. But it was interesting yesterday because the President, he came out today and spoke about the jobs numbers. And again, you see this narrative shift. Even though the jobs numbers were way off what the projection was, they're trying to spin into why we need more spending at the Washington level.

And we've talked about that. People know about this reconciliation package, trying to get through without going through the filibuster process, trillions of dollars. But one of the key votes for President Biden yesterday tied it directly to Afghanistan, Senator Manchin, and said, you know, we don't need to be doing this or we've got to figure out the mess in Afghanistan. I mean, Thanh, without his support, this would be dead in the water.

It would be absolutely dead in the water, Jordan. And you and I talked about yesterday how I was predicting when Congress returns next month they were going to try to distract from Afghanistan by moving to these two so-called infrastructure bills. You know, the one that's about $1 trillion is a bipartisan infrastructure bill. It passed the United States Senate with 69 votes, and it is pretty much infrastructure. It's roads and bridges and waterways, and you can have a debate about that.

But the second one, Jordan, it just has the name of infrastructure. It's a $3.5 trillion yet to be drafted social spending bill is what it is. And they're planning to move it through what our listeners are probably familiar with now, through the budget reconciliation process. And, Jordan, the vote that you're talking about that they really desperately need is the vote of Senator Joe Manchin who would be the 50th vote in the United States Senate if they could get everyone else. And, Jordan, just a matter of a couple of weeks ago, they were able to get his vote on the underlying budget resolution that enables the process to go forward. But yesterday, he wrote in the Wall Street Journal that he is not supporting this package until he gets more information about, yes, Afghanistan, but also inflation, the jobs numbers, the economy, and other items.

Jordan, I feel like I'm always giving this caveat. We did it in advance of the last vote. Joe Manchin's vote is always in play, so this doesn't end the discussion. But as of right now, he's done what you and I said needed to happen from Democrats yesterday. We need Democrats to say we are going to get answers on Afghanistan and we're going to do this process correctly before we remove a reconciliation package.

Absolutely the right thing to do, but, Jordan, maybe we should talk about this. It has created absolute chaos inside the Democrat Party. Yeah, because you had this group who basically said, well, the reason why we were okay with the first package and the bipartisan package is because we'll get back to this and we can maybe keep this coalition together of the 50 votes necessary of the Senate and have the Vice President come over and cast the 51st vote to get this massive spending bill. And I think there was even probably, Than, they even want to do this more so now to change the narrative, especially the top-line party leaders who see Afghanistan as trouble for not just the Biden administration, but for Democrats. Yeah, they're desperate to move on in any way, shape, or form, Jordan.

I really do think it is. I mean, I know they want both bills, but I think, honestly, they'd rather move out in pretty much anything to change the topic. But here's how deep the divide is, Jordan. When the underlying budget resolution passed the House, they actually, at the behest of moderates in their caucus, they actually had to include language that say, we promise, no matter what happens with the larger bill, we promise to take a vote on the Senate's bipartisan infrastructure bill by September 27th. Now, the progressives in the House really hated that language, Jordan, because they say they're not going to vote for that bill unless they first pass the social spending bill. So when Senator Manchin came out yesterday and said he's no longer going to vote for that one at all unless it's dramatically reduced, let me just read you a couple of responses. Number one, Bernie Sanders. He said, he tweeted, there's no infrastructure bill without the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. And then Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Listen to this, Jordan. Here's what she tweeted. Manchin has weekly huddles with Exxon and is one of the many senators who gives lobbyists their pen to write so-called bipartisan fossil fuel bills. It's killing people, our people, at least 12 last night, sick of this bipartisan corruption that masquerades as clear-eyed moderation. Jordan, they need both the votes of Joe Manchin and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to pass that bill.

Based on that tweet, do you think they're getting them both? No, and that's why I think the Democrat Party getting a taste of how it's been to be like a Republican leader in the past where you've got people from pretty different political spectrums under a big tent. They have usually been very lockstep in line.

And even with the AOCs of the world, they've been able to kind of isolate them. But when you have that kind of language being used from a Democrat in the House to a Democrat in the Senate, when you've got to have their vote, I mean, always with AOC, it seems like politics is over actually getting anything done. She doesn't get any legislation done, and it's always radical. But this ratchets up to a new level of dysfunction in Washington if there's this kind of level of dysfunction with the party that's in charge.

Yeah, agreed, Jordan. And look, the momentum, the inertia in Washington, D.C. is always on the side of big spending. So the last thing I would tell our listeners is that this social spending package is dead in the water.

Of course, there could be a resurrection. Of course, Joe Manchin could get a sweetener, could actually end up voting for the legislation. But I would tell you where it needs to go, Jordan.

I mean, we have talked on this broadcast. There's a lot of support inside the Republican Party for a legitimate infrastructure bill. And I'm sure no matter what bill would come out, you and I and probably every member of the United States Senate would find large portions of that bill that we did not agree with. But if you look at this roughly $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill that's already moved out of the Senate with 69 votes, there's clear evidence there, Jordan. There is a wide swath of Republicans willing to pass that bill. I would say to Speaker Pelosi what she should do to show good faith to those in her conference is probably to bring that bill up.

And is it perfect? No. But if she actually wants to have progress rather than politics, that would be the bill that she would bring up. But Jordan, it's been available for her to call up for some time now, and she's not done that. She's trying to find a way to pacify both sides of her conference. We're about to go into the Labor Day weekend holiday, and that's usually kind of the comeback from that is when you get Congress back. And I know a lot of members have been back because of Afghanistan, and there's still issues with COVID, too, about how everything works. But what's the timeline on this? Because Joe Manchin is saying we've got to figure out the Afghanistan, what happened there, hold the accountability there, and also finish the job there, which has not been finished, before we start getting into more divisive partisan politics.

What does the timeline look like of all this? Yeah, really yet to be determined, Jordan, because I think the urgency of the Afghanistan situation, this hearkens back to the conversation you had with Rick, there's really not the luxury of waiting there. I mean, I think as soon as Congress comes back, which is that first full week after the Labor Day week, I think it's incumbent on them to look at this, Jordan, because there's a very real threat of the way that refugees are being processed right now.

That has to take priority. But yet, Jordan, if it does, if it properly takes priority, it really derails the plan that Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi have on these two bills. Because, again, there was language inside the House bill that promised moderates they would get a vote on this bipartisan infrastructure bill by September 27th. Well, we're not even going to have language, even if they're on time, Jordan, we're not even going to have language for the reconciliation bill until September 13th. So there's just no way they're going to be able to move those in advance of that deadline. And as that deadline starts to tick closer, and they have not yet moved the larger bill, Jordan, the question is going to be, which side of their conference is going to blink?

Or will either blink, and will both of these pieces fall off the table? Folks, we're going to stay on this. Of course, as Stan says, Washington, they're coming back to Capitol Hill, and they've got these big issues to deal with. We're going to be on this, on our government affairs team, and just think about all the different things in this one-hour broadcast today that we have worked through, all with ACLJ team members, not people from outside the ACLJ, all inside the ACLJs because of your support. As always, check out ACLJ.org. Have a great Labor Day weekend.

We will talk to you next week. For decades now, the ACLJ has been on the front lines, protecting your freedoms, defending your rights, in courts, in Congress, and in the public arena. The American Center for Law and Justice is on your side. If you're already a member, thank you. And if you're not, well, this is the perfect time to stand with us at ACLJ.org, where you can learn more about our life-changing work. Become a member today. ACLJ.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-08 14:06:28 / 2023-09-08 14:29:03 / 23

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